Skydio R1 – Impressive Fully Autonomous 4K Drone

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Skydio R1 – Impressive Fully Autonomous 4K Drone
May 032018
 

The California-based startup Skydio has introduced a fully autonomous drone named Skydio R1. Its development took 4 years. The R1 is an artificial intelligence-powered quadcopter capable of shooting 4K video of a subject and maneuvering complex environments entirely on its own. It uses 13 onboard cameras and vision-based computer system to actually see the obstacles and avoid them while following and filming the desired subject.

There were initiatives to make autonomous drones before. We still remember the sad story behind the autonomous drone Lilly, which never made it in production. It is obviously quite a challenging task to design a drone that can safely fly in busy and changing environments. Skydio seems to have succeeded with the R1. Interesting fact is that their first batch of drones called “the frontier edition” is being assembled directly in their facility in the USA. The company did not say anything about outsourcing their production to China yet.

The Skydio R1 does not come with a controller. It can be controlled with a smartphone using the Skydio mobile app. Since this is an autonomous drone, users will not need the controls so often though. Mostly only take-off and landing of the drone are being managed through the app. Furthermore users can see video previews of footage there or control how the drone captures that footage with presets like:

  • follow – drone follows and films the subject from behind
  • side – drone films the subject from the side
  • lead – drone films its subject from the front
  • tripod – drone hovers at one place and turns to have the subject in the picture
  • orbit – drone circles around the subject to create 360-degree shots

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SmallHD Wireless Monitors – FOCUS Bolt TX and RX

 Gear  Comments Off on SmallHD Wireless Monitors – FOCUS Bolt TX and RX
May 032018
 

At NAB 2018, SmallHD showed off new wireless versions of their popular 5″ FOCUS monitor and we spoke with the company Co-Founder, Wes Phillips, to get all the details. Like the Bolt 703, SmallHD has merged their FOCUS 5-inch monitor with Teradek’s wireless capabilities and the results could be welcome news for directors or for clients looking for portable field monitor solutions.

We already covered the announcement of the transmitter and receiver versions of the FOCUS Bolt, but we thought it would be useful to catch up with SmallHD Co-Founder, Wes Phillips, and see the product for ourselves. After going hands on with the new monitors it appears that the FOCUS Bolt TX and RX are among the lightest wireless monitor/receiver solutions available. Shipping along with the 5-inch FOCUS touchscreen are the lightweight grippy monitor handles and a Sony L series battery. Of course, you can also power the monitors with a D-Tap cable.

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Sony Interview: FS5 II, What’s REALLY New?

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Sony Interview: FS5 II, What’s REALLY New?
Apr 092018
 

I spoke with Claus Pfeifer from Sony about the newly announced FS5 II and the other new cameras. And I asked the tough question: What’s REALLY new about the FS5 II?

A few hours ago Sony announced the FS5 II, an update to Sony’s little FS7 brother (see our report here). Some of our readers were asking: What’s REALLY new about it though? It seems to use the same sensor and have the same exact body as the original FS5. And while the FS7 II at least got the Vari ND feature that the FS7 was missing, the original FS5 already had that.

 

RAW for “free”, Better Color Science & “Instant HDR”

Sony is teasing the integrated RAW output functionality in the FS5 II, which was a payable firmware upgrade in the original FS5 – a welcome addition of a feature becoming standard, especially with the newly announced ProRes RAW (article here) and the upgrade of the Atomos Shogun Inferno and Sumo19 recorders to support ProRes RAW recording (article here). Now also the formerly payable high frame rate output and internal high frame rate recording capabilities are included with the FS5 II.

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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4K Camera Hands on with CEO Grant Petty

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4K Camera Hands on with CEO Grant Petty
Apr 092018
 

No longer only a mysterious billboard outside NAB 2018, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4K camera is here and it shoots 12-bit RAW cinema 4K 60fps and full HD at up to 120fps — all at an impressive price point. The specs, pricing and more are below including an interview with Blackmagic Design CEO, Grant Petty: 

 

Unlike its HD-only predecessor, the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera, the new 4K version shoots full cinema 4K (4096 x 2160 pixels) at up-to 60fps with a newly designed M4/3 (21.60 x 17.30mm) sensor. You’ll also be able to capture full HD 120 fps cropped (no info on how much of a crop) slow motion in both 12-bit CinemaDNG RAW and 10-bit Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) varieties. Unfortunately you won’t be able to shoot in the newly announced Pro Res RAW  at least not yet.

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Pre-Order Now:

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K Body Only with Active Micro Four Thirds Lens Mount

$1295 with Free Expedited Shipping.

Moment Introduces an Anamorphic Lens For Premium Smartphones

 Apple, Gear  Comments Off on Moment Introduces an Anamorphic Lens For Premium Smartphones
Apr 022018
 

Moment presents their new Kickstarter campaign: The Filmmaker Collection for smartphones which includes some goodies to transform your phone into a “filmmaking machine”. We all know that a real anamorphic lens costs a fortune and as the pursuit for flares never stops, maybe now we can afford it – at least for our smartphone – as the crown jewel of their kit is the anamorphic lens. 

The Filmmaker Collection

The Filmmaker Collection by Moment, which is now on Kickstarter, includes an iPhoneX battery case, universal gimbal counterweight, filter mount and an anamorphic lens. I must admit that every product in the collection looks solid and when combined it looks rather cool, but of course the highlight of this kit is the supplied anamorphic lens. 

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Aputure Amaran MX & F7 LED Lights Announced & Reviewed

 Gear  Comments Off on Aputure Amaran MX & F7 LED Lights Announced & Reviewed
Apr 022018
 

Aputure just announced their new small and super powerful MX and F7 LED lights, and our man Eric van Vuuren already reviewed them in detail in this video.

Aputure Amaran MX – small with big output

The new Amaran MX light by Aputure is the successor of the popular M9 light, but this time it’s very sturdily built using aircraft aluminium, on the footprint of a credit card. It features 128 LEDs and is supposed to be 3 times as bright as the M9 – when using the “booster” function, it can temporarily output even 4 times as much light as the M9 (for up to 60 seconds).

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Canon M50 Hands-On Review – The Best Vlogging Camera?

 Gear  Comments Off on Canon M50 Hands-On Review – The Best Vlogging Camera?
Mar 142018
 

The Canon M50 was recently announced, and now I had a chance to review a pre-production version of it. Is Canon’s first attempt at a 4K mirrorless camera also the best vlogging camera out there? Let’s have a look.

A Beginner’s Camera

I can’t stress this point enough before diving deep into the camera’s functions: This is a beginner’s camera and its price point (below $800 or €600) make it a great deal compared to its competition. So whenever I lament about a missing function, this should be kept in mind. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison with the more expensive entry-level camera from Sony, the A6500, which is almost twice as expensive.

Tiny Footprint

The Canon M50 has a tiny footprint, and is sturdily built around Canon’s EOS M lens mount. A smaller version of the EOS lens mount – which is also backwards-compatible, but an adapter is needed. The camera feels very sturdy despite its entry-level status and it feels like it can take a beating. It seems like Canon designed this as a “family camera” that can be in anyone’s hand from time to time. The flip-out screen makes it very convenient to use from every angle. It gives a lot of  nice flexibility that their higher-end DSLR offerings are missing – lightness and the flexible screen, plus a decent viewfinder which can of course also be used for video. “Of course” because this is a mirrorless camera – on their DSLRs, the optical viewfinder becomes useless when you switch to the video modes, because the mirror blocks your view.

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Read more Canon C200 vs Panasonic EVA1 – Zacuto Camera Shootout 2018

 Gear  Comments Off on Read more Canon C200 vs Panasonic EVA1 – Zacuto Camera Shootout 2018
Mar 122018
 

The Zacuto camera shootout is back! If you were wondering which was the better camera, then tune in to this smart and scrupulous battle going LIVE on March 14th at 11am CST.

The “Camera Shootout 2018 – Canon C200 vs Panasonic EVA1” hosted by Zacuto has a challenging mission: to put the Panasonic EVA1 and Canon C200 through a series of tests, and try and declare a “winner”. 

“Our shootouts are back!! Side by side, Bruce Logan, ASC put the Panasonic EVA1 and Canon C200 through a series of tests” as stated on the Facebook event page. 

I remember the fascinating “Great Camera Shootout 2011”, which I watched a couple times! The 2011 Zacuto camera shootout demonstrated side by side comparisons of the ARRI Alexa, Sony F35, Sony F3, Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 7D, Canon 1D Mark IV, Nikon D7000, Weisscam HS-2, Phantom Flex, Panasonic AG-AF100, RED ONE M-X and 35mm Kodak 5213 and 5219 film.

Yes, you heard right! The Canon 7D was compared to the ALEXA, and film against digital, all by carefully testing essential parameters like sharpness, low-light sensitivity, exposure, latitude, highlight detail, shadow detail, color quality, skin tone reproduction, compression losses and shutter artefacts.

Conducted by consultants, specialists and technicians from various areas of the motion picture industry, these on-set challenges were designed to push these cameras to the limit.

The 2011 battle was extremely educational and, in my opinion, must be watched by film educators, as the whole project is on Vimeo.

Take a look at the full sessions of the “Great Camera Shootout 2011”:

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SIGMA Unveils New Art Lenses for Sony E-Mount

 Gear  Comments Off on SIGMA Unveils New Art Lenses for Sony E-Mount
Mar 112018
 

Hot on the heels of this year’s CP+, which took place in Japan, our own Johnnie Behiri had the opportunity to chat with SIGMA’s Yamaki-san about the brand-new lineup of native Art lenses for Sony E-mount.

SIGMA’s lineup of Art labled lenses is extremely popular due to excellent optical performance and build quality. But although these lenses are available for a range of mounts including Canon, Nikon, Sony A and SIGMA, you couldn’t get a native SIGMA Art lens for Sony E-mount. Until now.

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The Cameras Used in the 2018 Oscar-Nominated Films

 Cinematography  Comments Off on The Cameras Used in the 2018 Oscar-Nominated Films
Mar 112018
 

Today we’ll take a look at the cameras used in the Oscar-nominated films in the Cinematography and Best Picture categories. The results may surprise you… or not!

 

One of the most interesting questions that may strike your curiosity when watching a movie – and especially one nominated for an Oscar – is “what camera was that shot on?” For us filmmakers, when it comes to choosing the right camera, these films can serve as a sort of reference, especially in a time when there are so many cinema cameras, sensors and ultra high-resolution goodies to choose from.

So, we had a look at the Tech Spec section of all of these movies’ IMDB page. Check out the list below to find out what cameras were used for this year’s Oscar-nominated films:

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Fujinon MKX – Unique X Series Features

 Gear  Comments Off on Fujinon MKX – Unique X Series Features
Mar 062018
 

The recently announced Fujinon MKX T2.9 cine lenses come with unique features for Fujifilm camera owners. We looked into them more closely …

The E-mount versions of these MK lenses have been a big hit with cinematographers. But this is about more than just a simple mount change. When pairing these new cine lenses with Fujifilm X Series cameras, such as the new X-H1, the electrical contacts on the lens pass data to the camera. This allows the the camera to correct lens distortion as well as colour and brightness shading.

Lens Data

The lens data passed to the camera includes iris (T-stop) data, as well as focus distance and zoom information. As well as the obvious benefit on seeing this information displayed on the cameras LCD monitor, it also apparently allows for improved white balancing. We will be reviewing these two new lenses soon, so it will be interesting to see how this innovative feature works.

The Fujinon MKX 18-55mm will retail for $3999. The Fujinon MKX 50-135mm will retail for $4299. As a recap, here are the main features of these two lenses:

Fujinon MKX 18-55mm T2.9 & Fujinon MKX 50-135mm T2.9

  • Use an optical construction comprising 22 glass elements in 17 groups, with six super ED lens elements and two ED lens elements (two super ED lens elements and two ED lens elements for the 50-135mm).
  • T2.9 aperture across the entire zoom range which facilitates the increasingly popular style of bokeh effect with shallow depth-of-field. This also eliminates the need to re-adjust lighting, contributing to shortening shooting time.
  • The MKX lens achieves advanced optical performance despite its compact and lightweight body by incorporating the benefits of short flange focal distance of X Mount into optical design to the maximum extent. This accommodates shooting with a limited number of people.

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Ikan Introduces the PIVOT Handheld 3-Axis Gimbal with up to 8lb Payload

 Gear  Comments Off on Ikan Introduces the PIVOT Handheld 3-Axis Gimbal with up to 8lb Payload
Mar 062018
 

The PIVOT handheld 3-Axis gimbal stabilizer supports a wide range of DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, and even cinema cameras weighing up to 8 pounds.

 

It’s gimbal time – or should we say: another day, another gimbal. In January, we covered two new gimbals: the Filmpower Nebula 4100 Slant and the DJI Ronin-S. Both of them share a lot of similarities. So, what’s new about the Ikan PIVOT? In one word: Payload!

Max 8 lbs Payload for Cinema Cameras

The PIVOT can hold a maximum combined payload of 8 lbs – truly impressive compared to other gimbals. This not only allows you to use a wider range of camera and lens combinations and accessories, but also opens up the possibility to handle heavier cameras, even compact cinema cameras (RED, anyone?). 

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Panavision Announces New Millennium DXL2 8K Camera with the RED Monstro 8K VV Sensor

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Panavision Announces New Millennium DXL2 8K Camera with the RED Monstro 8K VV Sensor
Feb 042018
 

The new Panavision Millenium DXL2 builds on the success of the original Millennium DXL. Both models operate in an ecosystem (or should I say marriage) between three top-class companies in the moving picture industry: Panavision, Light Iron and RED. However, this time the development of the camera has gone even further by incorporating Panavision with the RED MONSTRO 8K VV sensor, and Light Iron color2 science.

 

As stated by Michael Cioni, senior VP of Innovation at Panavision and Light Iron: “Panavision’s vast inventory of advanced large-format and anamorphic optics combined with RED’s MONSTRO imager expands what’s possible, allowing filmmakers to create radically inventive and powerfully cinematic images, customized for the needs of the project and the vision of creative teams.”

Watch the video below which demonstrates the DXL2 in action.

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Canon Takes 1st Place in 2018 Japanese Camera Ranking

 Gear  Comments Off on Canon Takes 1st Place in 2018 Japanese Camera Ranking
Jan 232018
 

The annual Japan BCN rankings are in and Canon emerges as the winner of some major categories, including DSLRs. Canon also wins the 2nd place in the category “mirrorless” and thus points Sony to 3rd place.

What are the annual BCN rankings, you might ask. The winners of one of the many categories are being determined by multible factors, the Japanese company behind it, BCN  (Business Computer News), explains:

The “BCN AWARD” is an annual (January 1st – December 31st) sales comparison of BCN, which collects the current sales data of large electronics wholesalers nationwide, PC specialty stores and Internet shops. It is a system for rewarding a manufacturer’s cumulative numbers.

These awards can be seen as an indicator of the (Japanese) market situation regarding all kinds of electronic goods, including digital cameras and lenses which renders the outcome interesting for us.

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LG Reveals Its First-ever 4K HDR, Compact and Affordable Home Cinema Projector

 Cinematography  Comments Off on LG Reveals Its First-ever 4K HDR, Compact and Affordable Home Cinema Projector
Jan 142018
 

At CES 2018, LG wants to hit the jackpot. Armed with its new invention to enhance the home cinema experience, LG has just announced the HU80KA projector, its first 4K UHD model designed to deliver ultra-sharp video in a compact, beautiful design.

As stated by Tim Alessi, head of product marketing at LG Electronics USA: “LG’s first-ever 4K UHD projector represents the pinnacle of innovation in the portable entertainment market… Offering superb brightness coupled with a design that offers true versatility, the new HU80KA will lead the way in changing how consumers enjoy 4K content in their home and on the go.”

150-inch screen, 2,500 lumens and HDR

The HU80KA projector has the potential to deliver a 150-inch screen projection with 2,500 lumens, making it LG’s brightest projector. Furthermore, it supports HDR content (HDR 10).

Regarding sound, external speakers can be connected via optical output, HDMI or wirelessly through Bluetooth for enhanced audio performance.

As stated by Tim Alessi, head of product marketing at LG Electronics USA: “LG’s first-ever 4K UHD projector represents the pinnacle of innovation in the portable entertainment market… Offering superb brightness coupled with a design that offers true versatility, the new HU80KA will lead the way in changing how consumers enjoy 4K content in their home and on the go.”

150-inch screen, 2,500 lumens and HDR

The HU80KA projector has the potential to deliver a 150-inch screen projection with 2,500 lumens, making it LG’s brightest projector. Furthermore, it supports HDR content (HDR 10).

Regarding sound, external speakers can be connected via optical output, HDMI or wirelessly through Bluetooth for enhanced audio performance.

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Panasonic GH5S Video Hands-On – Highlights of the New Camera

 Gear  Comments Off on Panasonic GH5S Video Hands-On – Highlights of the New Camera
Jan 142018
 

The wait is over. Panasonic just announced their new flagship video-orientated mirrorless photo camera, the GH5S. Watch our GH5S Video Hands-on above! (And the Mini Documentary I’ve shot with that new camera) Promising to perform (much) better than its predecessor in low-light, the new camera was also designed to compete with Sony’s a7S series. Is it up to the task? In our opinion: YES! 

Before we get started:
Stay tuned to our continuous coverage of the new Panasonic GH5S. A short review and original footage is coming up today too. Tomorrow, please look out for Nino’s lowlight test/review video and on top, our exclusive interview with Yamane-san – head of Panasonic imaging division – where we ask the questions that deserve answers. Only on cinema5D.com!  

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DJI Reveals New Handheld Stabilizers at CES 2018 – Osmo Mobile 2 and Ronin-S

 Gear  Comments Off on DJI Reveals New Handheld Stabilizers at CES 2018 – Osmo Mobile 2 and Ronin-S
Jan 072018
 

DJI is aiming straight at the mobile & DSLR/mirrorless market with two new single-handed stabilizers. Meet Osmo Mobile 2 and Ronin-S, both of which will be presented at CES 2018 in Las Vegas.

Osmo Mobile 2 – an improved handheld smartphone camera stabilizer

The Osmo Mobile 2 has a lightweight design, a built-in three-axis gimbal and supports pivoting between landscape and portrait orientation (by the two-way mobile clamp). DJI’s SmoothTrack technology detects how you are moving the camera and compensates, so it becomes a smoother, more “cinematic” shot. On top of that, user experience has been improved and all the controls where simplified, DJI claims it’s now more similar to operating “a professional camera”.

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Sony Announces New E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 APS-C Lens ahead of CES 2018

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Sony Announces New E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 APS-C Lens ahead of CES 2018
Jan 072018
 

Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 for APS-C cameras has just been announced a few days ahead of CES in Las Vegas. It’s their 46th E-Mount lens. They also released a silver version of the a6300 camera.

The new Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS E-mount lens includes a functional wide to telephoto focal range of 18-135mm, as well as an aperture range of F3.5-5.6, making this lens versatile whether you are filming indoors or outdoors. The lens auto focus features a linear motor, for fast and quiet operation. This could make for impressive auto focus tracking performance for video, when paired with the Sony a6500 for example, which is already known for its great video auto focus.

The lens features Sony’s powerful OSS or ‘Optical SteadyShot’ image stabilization which will aid in achieving steady and crisp images while shooting hand held, or in lower light scenarios. For improved optical performance, the lens also includes two extra-low dispersion elements and one aspherical lens which will reduce chromatic aberration.

Weighing only 325g, the lens and camera combination is ideal for those that like a lightweight and compact setup, whether that is for traveling, street work, or on a hand held gimbal.

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AXIOM Open-Source Cinema Camera Unveils New Design and Recording solutions

 Gear  Comments Off on AXIOM Open-Source Cinema Camera Unveils New Design and Recording solutions
Dec 102017
 

Apertus has unveiled new major updates regarding technological and design solutions for AXIOM, the world’s first open-hardware and open-software cinema camera. Read on to learn more about this fascinating camera. 

 

AXIOM

Backed by a team of experts from a large swathe of technological and artistic fields (developers, filmmakers, engineers and artists), the apertus° project is stepping forward to the next level of manufacturing and delivering of the AXIOM camera.

cinema5D has been following the progression of this ambitious project from its beginnings, and it is indeed fascinating to see this open-source camera taking shape. It’s actually finally starting to look like a cinema camera!

AXIOM camera main features:

– 4K resolution

– Super35 sensor

– Global shutter

– Up to 15 stops dynamic range

– Up to 300 fps

– 12 bit

– Target price well below $10,000

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Going Doc-Style with the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro on Robbie Williams’ Europe Tour

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Going Doc-Style with the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro on Robbie Williams’ Europe Tour
Nov 282017
 

Many filmmakers, including myself are hesitant about using the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro and URSA Mini 4.6K cameras in documentary environments, but James Tonkin of Hangman proves us wrong, taking the URSA cameras into the battlefield of Robbie William’s European Tour 2017.

James Tonik’s URSA Mini Pro with a Letus gimbal and remote focus rig

James Tonkin was recently tasked to document Williams’ 2017 European tour in its entirety. From rehearsals through to live shows, to the all-important backstage moments with Robbie Williams, Tonkin’s primary camera choices were the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro and URSA Mini 4.6K as well as the RED Weapon. For some run and gun filmmakers this might not be the first choice of camera systems when it comes to filming documentaries. In comparison to others, they have drawbacks in lowlight situations and handling. But from a quality standpoint the choice certainly makes sense, if one can make them work documentary style – and Tonkin did.

With a relationship spanning 16 years, Tonkin already had a unique understanding of when and where to capture the tours most potent moments. Furthermore preparation ahead of the tour alongside an understanding of the end goal was imperative for delivering a high-quality production that would meet the brief.

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